Building a Fresh Market in a Food Desert

When we moved into the 9th ward one of the first things we noticed was the lack of real grocery stores in the area. Sure there were corner stores with very basic food options, but there were no fresh fruits and vegetables and most of the food options were bad quality and made with unhealthy and processed ingredients. 

Even when we went to local food co-ops in the area the locally grown produce was outrageously over priced and inaccessible to a large portion of the community in our neighborhood. 

Andy and I had a passion for growing fresh fruits and vegetables and grew our own curbside plot on and abandoned bit of sidewalk when we lived in Los Angeles. It was so fun to take an abandoned plot and provide fresh food to friends and neighbors instead of having a vacant and overgrown area.

We were inspired by Ron Finley and his push to allow growing on city owned curbside plots through "guerilla gardening" in the Los Angeles area. After seeing the lack of fresh food options in Upper 9th when we moved here to New Orleans we decided to take action through creating a community garden space to bring knowledge about how to grow your own food and also provide it to residents in the area. 
 Since then, our garden has grown.  When  the pandemic hit and there was a lack of groceries and we saw the restrictions hurting small businesses and Black businesses in particular in our area, we decided to start up a farmer's market that features Black farmers, growers, and makers as the majority.  A safe space for them to be able to sell their food(s) and network.  The market has been such a hit that we decided to open a fresh food market a few blocks away in a more permanent space.

This is where you come in. We owe everything this market has become to those of you who frequent the markets and support these small businesses and we'd like to see you be a part of our expansion. While we can't do a full on grocery store yet, we would like to establish a permanent venue where neighbors can buy from local farmers, cooks, bakers and food entrepreneurs every week instead of only twice a month.  
The farmer's market will continue to take place at our garden twice a month, this is just an extension for that.  To make this fresh market a reality, we need 
1. A fence around the parameter: Around $3000
2. Displays for the produce $1000
3. A security system $1000
4.  We will be building permanent vendor stalls, 8 total.  My husband will build them with some local workers, but we need the supplies $3000

We plan to keep our vendor costs low ($25) so that people in the community can continue to be vendors.

If you want to see more of what we do, we are on Facebook and Instagram as Barcelo Gardens.  I have also decided that anyone who wants to donate over $500, that I will name a food stall after you, your business, or in honor of a person of your choice. 

We thank you all for helping us be able to make this a reality!

Donations (641)

  • Anonymous
    • $20 
    • 2 mos
  • Louise Barroca
    • $50 
    • 3 mos
    • $5 
    • 3 mos
  • Don Henderson
    • $50 
    • 3 mos
  • Anonymous
    • $15 
    • 3 mos


Ashley Webb Barcelo
New Orleans, LA

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